Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Raoul Wallenberg memorial park in Budapest
The Synagogue in Dohany Utca has a garden in the back with a statue in the shape of a weeping willow tree with the names of the people killed in the Holocaust inscribed on the leaves - it was designed by Imre Varga in 1989
It is a quiet piece of land behind the main synagogue with a series of stain glass windows looking out on to the courtyard where the statue is in the centre of the garden
Raoul Wallenberg, after whom the park is named, was a Swedish diplomatic based in Budapest who issued false passports to the Jewish residents of the city to prevent them being deported - in an act of incredible brutality, he was kidnapped by the Soviets in January 1945 and subsequently died in captivity - there was no reason for his arrest save for the fact that he had protected people against one oppressive regime so they must have feared he would do it again - so he was murdered.
Later on, he was made a member of the Righteous Amongst Nations by the Jewish people in recognition of the work he did to save Hungarian Jews - he was also twice nominated for the Nobel Peace prize
He was one of many Gentiles who protected the Jewish population in Hungary, many of whom paid the ultimate price for their help to the protect the victims of the discrimination that was implemented under the Horthy, Arrow Cross and Nazi regimes